I have some great rides to look forward on the opening day of the Punchestown festival, it’s a brilliant week and I can’t wait for it to get underway.
My knowledge of hunter chase form is limited so I’ll just be watching on with for the first race, but I’ll be in action in the second race, the Grade 1 novice hurdle over two miles.
Wille saddles four of the six runners and I’ve stuck with Klassical Dream, who was so impressive in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
He has had a nice break since then, his work at home has been good and hopefully two miles around Punchestown won’t be too sharp for him. He’s bidding to cap a great season and hopefully he can go out on a win.
Felix Desjy was very good in Aintree. I didn’t think he could keep up the gallop all the way but he sure as hell did. He missed the break when fifth behind Klassical Dream at Cheltenham and is a big runner today.
I don’t know much about Champagne Platinum but, on official ratings, he would look to have a good bit to find. Aramon has been very consistent all year. He was second to Klassical Dream at Leopardstown and second to Felix Desjy at Aintree, but it was too soft for him at Cheltenham.
We haven’t seen Quick Grabim since he was very impressive in the Royal Bond. We know he’s a very good horse, but it’s his first run in a very long time.
Mister Blue Sky has improved a good bit since beating Cash Back in Fairyhouse, and he’s a big runner also. There are only six runners but it’s a very competitive race. I won’t be hanging around and neither will Felix Desjy so it should be a good test. Hopefully I’m on the right one.
Both found two and a half miles a bit too far in Fairyhouse last week, but the drop back to two miles will really suit both. I didn’t give La Sorelita the greatest ride in the world at Ballinrobe last week, when I got too far back and in a pocket. She has definitely improved for that run, but this is another competitive race.
Paul rides Dolciano Dici, who has had an in-and-out season and we haven’t managed to get any of the ability he has out of him. He is best watched, but definitely has a whole lot more ability than he has shown in public. We’re seeing it at home, but he hasn’t yet brought it to the racecourse.
The Champion Chase is another great race and, though I could have ridden Un De Sceaux, it’s more a case of I couldn’t get off Min after his brilliant run at Aintree. It was probably a career-best for him. Last year, he came here after being beaten by Politologue at Aintree and there were only 11 days between that run and his run at Punchestown. There’s a much bigger gap this time, which gives him longer to freshen up at home.
He seems to be in good form, but I have huge respect for Un De Sceaux. He’s fresh and well, he’s in great form, and he won the race last year. I think one or the other will win, and I just hope I’m on the right one but if Un De Sceaux beats me, I won’t be that surprised.
Great Field is coming back off a long lay-off and off the back of two falls. He has to get it back together.
Web don’t have anything in the Land Rover Bumper, but we run Getabird in the Grade 1 novice chase over three miles. Obviously Delta Work, having been placed in a Grade 1 at Cheltenham, sets the standard, and he’s the one we’re going to have to beat.
I know A Plus Tard was impressive in Cheltenham, but he has been beaten the twice he has gone right-handed and won the twice he has gone left-handed. He’s back going right-handed today.
Winter Escape has to improve a lot from Fairyhouse last week. Drovers Lane is consistent, but Chris’s Dream was disappointing at Aintree. Discorama must come into consideration after his run in the four-miler at Cheltenham.
Getabird and Articulum were first and second in a beginners’ chase here back in December. They’re both stepping up to three miles for the first time. Getabird hasn’t run since being beaten by Hardline at Limerick, but he loves going right-handed. He’s a point to point winner and we think he has a chance, but a chance is what he has and he’s 9-2 for a reason.
Our runner in the bumper, The West Awaits, is first reserve. She’s a lovely big filly with a great pedigree. Hopefully somebody will think the ground is too quick and not run so this filly might get in because she goes well.